Want to start a construction business in the District of Columbia? Well, buckle up, because you’ll need as many as two different licenses and must provide up to 10 different types of documentation, including a police background check, a “clean hands” certification, and photos.
(The “clean hands” certification, by the way, has nothing to do with soap and water.)
As District officials continue their work to make doing business in the District easier, the Latino Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) is supporting this goal through its partnership with DC’s new Small Business Resource Center.
The Center, launched today, offers one-on-one business counseling and workshops to help entrepreneurs navigate the paperwork and approvals necessary to start or change their small business with the help of community organizations on-site at DC’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA). The new collaboration strengthens LEDC’s working relationship with DCRA, which includes LEDC’s efforts to strengthen DCRA’s proactive housing code inspections program to better document housing code violations impacting renters in the District.
“This new partnership will create a supportive environment that makes formalizing a business in the District as painless as possible,” says LEDC Small Business Development Director Emily Coronado. “We hope Latinos and other underserved residents take advantage of these new resources when they’ve planned well and are ready to launch or change their small business.”
The District, much like the entire Washington region, has witnessed an explosion of minority business growth in recent years. According to recent Census figures, there were 22,523 minority owned businesses in the District in 2007, up 33.9 percent from 2002. Approximately 3,500 were Hispanic-owned – up 57.9 percent from 2002.
Starting today at 9:30 a.m., LEDC will be on-site at DCRA every other Tuesday in the mornings to guide entrepreneurs through the process of formalizing their business. These information sessions include helping individuals to fill out paperwork including articles of incorporation, basic business licenses, and registration and licensing processes.
LEDC is one of several organizations that will support the new resource center, including the DC’s Women’s Business Center, the DC Chamber of Commerce, and the Washington Area Community Investment Fund.
To learn more about the Small Business Resource Center, click here. Each session is free, but entrepreneurs must call in advance to set up an appointment. The Center is located at 1100 4th Street, SW, 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20024.